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Monday, March 31, 2008

Race-Specific Cancer Gene (Sort Of)

Using population genetics methods, scientists have found an allele (a form of a gene, due to mutation) that increases the odds for colon cancer by 10% if a person is of European ancestry (specifically Scottish ancestry) but not Japanese ancestry.

Interestingly, this allelic variation is not in the coding region of the gene but in the non-coding region, suggesting that it is a regulatory sequence that can increase or decrease the expression of a protein.

The increase is seen only for colon cancer and not for rectal cancer.

The scientists did not rule out diet or lifestyle factors as the reason for the difference in the effect of the gene.
For example, it is possible that Gene + haggis + scotch = colon cancer, while Gene + sushi + fugu does not.

1 comment:

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